|Publication number||US6889165 B2|
|Application number||US 10/188,469|
|Publication date||May 3, 2005|
|Filing date||Jul 2, 2002|
|Priority date||Jul 2, 2001|
|Also published as||CA2452376A1, EP1405044A1, US20030033032, WO2003004975A1|
|Publication number||10188469, 188469, US 6889165 B2, US 6889165B2, US-B2-6889165, US6889165 B2, US6889165B2|
|Inventors||Michael A. Lind, Kevin L. Priddy, Gary B. Morgan, Jeffrey W. Griffin, Richard W. Ridgway, Steven L. Stein|
|Original Assignee||Battelle Memorial Institute|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (105), Non-Patent Citations (29), Referenced by (56), Classifications (10), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/302,563 filed Jul. 2, 2001, which is hereby incorporated by reference.
The present inventions relate to intelligent microsensors. More particularly, the present inventions relate to intelligent microsensors that can fuse data streams from a variety of sources and locally process the data to determine the current state of the environment in which the intelligent microsensor is placed.
Microsensors are used in the prior art to detect certain parameters and to report the raw data detected to a remote location for processing. Some dedicated purpose sensor units, such as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,511,553 to Segalowitz (the '553 patent), are used to detect multiple physiological parameters from a patient. Some embodiments of the '553 patent describe the data detection and processing as being completed “on the patient” at the patient's end. However, the invention of the '553 patent is not readily reconfigurable for other uses.
What is needed is a general purpose smart sensor that can fuse data from multiple types of sensors, processing the sensor data locally. What is further needed is an intelligent smart sensor module which can analyze the locally processed data and, if desired, react to the resultant data to adjust the environment of the smart sensor module and/or forward the resultant data to a remote location. What is additionally needed is an intelligent microsensor package that can be standardized and easily adapted and/or reconfigured for multiple different uses. These objects, and others, are satisfied by Applicant's present inventions disclosed here below.
One embodiment of the present invention relates to a unique sensing technique. Other embodiments include unique methods, systems, devices, and apparatus for sensing one or more characteristics. A further embodiment of the present invention is directed towards a modular, general purpose sensor unit. The modular sensor unit includes a sensor array layer, a processor and control layer, and a power layer. The sensor array layer receives and conditions data from at least two sensors which can be the same type or different types. The general purpose intelligent processor and control layer processes the conditioned data and produces output data derived from the conditioned data, which is different, at least in part, from the conditioned data. Additionally, the processor and control layer includes a reprogrammable memory for storing application specific software to control the operation of the processor and control layer. The power layer provides power to the sensor array layer and the intelligence and processor control layer. The sensor array layer, the processor and control layer, and power layer are layered to form a unitary smart sensor module.
In some other embodiments, a communications layer is additionally included. The communications layer can be used to receive new software to reprogram the smart sensor module for a different application. In another embodiment, a network of smart sensor modules is provided.
One object is to provide a unique sensing technique.
Another object is to provide a unique method, system, device, or apparatus for sensing one or more characteristics.
Further embodiments, forms, benefits, aspects, features, objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description.
The present invention is illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:
For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the inventions, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the inventions is thereby intended. Any alterations and further modifications of the principles of the inventions as illustrated or described herein are contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the inventions relate.
Certain embodiments of the present inventions relate to a smart sensor design that is very general in nature and is capable of performing nearly any sensing and data analysis task. The smart sensor device can fuse data streams from a variety of sources (sensors) and then locally determine the current state of the environment in which the smart sensor is placed. The resultant data, rather than raw data, is communicated to the outside world when the microsensor device is queried.
Referring now to
Additionally, in one embodiment of the present invention, the sensors are fabricated on a single substrate and appropriately doped, coated and/or grouped with other sensors to yield the desired response. If desired, the sensors may be integrated as a hybrid system onto a single carrier which functions as a single unit. Additionally, physical connectors for sensor leads may be provided on the sensor layer.
The sensor inputs are conditioned by the signal conditioning stage 25 and provided to the sensor fusion stage 30, which combines the data from multiple types of sensors. From the sensor fusion stage 30, the conditioned sensor provides the sensor data to the general purpose intelligent processing stage 40, which processes the conditioned sensor data in accordance with software within processor 42. The software for each particular application of the smart sensor module can be tailored to the specific environment and application in which the sensor has been placed.
A communications (Comm.) link 50 provides processed sensor data in the form of actionable information to a remote site. Additionally, raw sensor data can be forwarded to the remote site, if desired. For example, if audio is provided at the smart sensor, that raw audio input can be provided directly to a remote site, if desired.
Further, a power supply 60 provides power to all of the different sensor module components. In the most preferred embodiment, at least the power source 60, the general purpose intelligent processor 40 and the communications link 50 are provided in a single compact package. The sensor array 20 may be part of the monolithic smart sensor module 10 and/or may be separately chosen and fixed to the module 10, as will be described herebelow. The wireless communications capability of the present inventions, along with the data fusion and intelligent on-board analysis provides the end user station with processed, actionable data. As will be described below in connection with the examples, the flexibility of the modular design allows the user to interchange different sensor suites with associated control electronics and different communications boards as needed.
Referring now to
The power layer 102 includes a power source 102 a, preferably a device that can extract power from the operating environment and convert the energy to a useful electrical form to operate the other elements in the systems. The power may be derived from forms of energy or potential energy, such as solar conversion, acceleration, pressure, temperature, radiation, RF waves, chemicals, piezo-electric or other means. An energy storage device such as a battery, flywheel or other means may be included with or as the primary power source.
The communications layer 104, is preferably, but not limited to, a wireless communication source based on high frequency radio, ultrasonic or optical modulation. Communication may be self-activated or it may respond to an RF tag or a small high frequency transceiver. The communication layer 104 can be on the same substrate or carrier 101 a as the other components of the system. The communication protocol will allow for asynchronous or synchronous communication with other similarly configured smart sensors and with centralized base stations. In one preferred embodiment, the communications layer 104 adheres to the BLUETOOTH standard. Additionally the communications layer 104 includes the network protocol information.
The intelligence and processor control layer 106 includes a low power processing unit 106 a capable of cognitive and inferential thinking based on statistics and neural networks for processing. The processing unit 106 a intelligently assimilates, integrates, and processes the data gathered by the sensors, to yield a useful actionable output. The intelligence layer 106 with its associated artificial intelligence allows the smart sensor module to “sift” information from the raw data being detected by the sensor layer 108.
The processor 106 a may be in the form of a neural network, a parallel processor or a serial processor. It may include adaptive learning algorithms, such as self-organization feature map (SOFM), adaptive resonance theory (ART), feed forward (FF) neural network, recurrent neural network (RNN) and/or Hopfield and bi-directional associative memory (BAM) learning techniques. Additionally or alternatively, rule-based systems (decision trees, expert systems, fuzzy sets, fuzzy logic, dynamic programming, etc.) and classical data gathering and processing techniques may be used.
The processor 106 a and/or intelligence layer 106 may process the data or actions from other smart sensors. Further, the processor 106 a may compare data to historical data or trends to determine an action based on that historical data or trends and may infer the presence of additional data or trends from other smart sensors or from other sensors in the smart sensor array. Additionally, the smart sensor can utilize readings from the other smart sensors to essentially create a “virtual” sensor that can provide a value that can be utilized in place of the missing data. Using its built-in intelligence, the smart sensor can call on other smart sensors to assist in sensing an unknown or weak signal object.
The intelligence layer 106, working with the communications layer 104, is capable of supporting networked communication with other smart sensors to relay information, infer the presence of missing data, yield actionable results based on collective weighted inputs from the other smart sensors as a distributed neural network. The multisensor data may be integrated and reduced to situation summaries and action parameters. If desired the processor layer 106 can contain flash memory for ease of programming and for removable data storage.
The intelligence 106 layer may be programmed to operate the smart sensor in a variety of operating modes. The intelligence layer 106 can cause the smart sensor module 100 to enter a sleep mode in order to save power. The smart sensor module 100 may then “wake-up” when the communication layer 104 receives a ping or wake-up request. Additionally, the intelligence layer 106 may be programmed to operate in a mode where the smart sensor module 100 periodically automatically wakes-up and processes data. In another mode, the smart sensor module 100 can operate continuously. The intelligence layer 106 may additionally cause the smart sensor module 100 to operate in an identification/status mode. In such a mode, the smart sensor module 100 processes and reports data when queried.
The sensor array layer 108 can include a few or many thousands of individual sensing elements 108 a (only some of which we specifically designated by reference numerals), permitting multiple parameter measurements in a single unit. Each sensor element 108 a or groups of elements 108 a can be activated and integrated into the intelligence process. Accordingly, in one form, economies of scale for manufacturing more sensors than needed for a particular task can be utilized to make the smart sensor layer 108 versatile enough to be used on many different applications. As such, the sensor array layer 108 includes the versatility necessary to be reconfigurable for sensing biological, chemical and physical parameters. Thus, many sensor applications can be constructed from a single smart sensor layer 108 via fusible links, firmware and/or on-board software, and the applications customized at the time of implementation. Alternatively, smart sensors may be customized through selective layering techniques at the time of fabrication.
Among other things, the sensor array layer 108 may include optical sources (lasers, LEDs, etc.), optical detectors, ultrasonic transducers, physical connectors and the interface to perform magnetic activation. Additionally, the sensor array layer 108 may include appropriate conditioning electronics for the sensors to convert outputs into compatible voltages, currents, frequencies, phases or actions that can be organized, compared, validated, calibrated, serialized, and analyzed. Alternatively or additionally, sensor layer 108 can include one or more other sources, detectors, actuators, output devices, and/or input devices.
Referring now to
Similarly, referring to
Referring now to
Referring now to
Referring now to
The intelligence layer 330 includes a data conversion stage having a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) 331 and an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) 332. The eight analog conditioned signals are sampled by the ADC 332. The data conversion stage may be implemented using integrated circuits such as the TLV1570 and TLV5604, both made by TEXAS INSTRUMENTS.
The intelligence layer 330 additionally includes a processor 333 to process the incoming data. In one particular embodiment, the processor 333 is chosen to be a 16 bit fixed point digital signal processor, such as the TMSC320VC5510 made by TEXAS INSTRUMENTS. Intelligence layer 330 additionally includes a system controller 334 for event coordination. The system controller 334 of the present embodiment may be chosen to be a 16 bit RISC-type processor, such as the MSP430 microcontroller, made by TEXAS INSTRUMENTS. The processor 333 and system controller 334 may share a memory 335 for program and data storage. In one particular example, a stacked CSP 3V memory made by INTEL is used. Alternatively, each unit may be provided with its own memory.
A parallel port interface 336 is provided as a programming interface for downloading application specific software to the sensor device 300 from a host computer 338. Alternatively, application specific software may be transmitted to the smart sensor from a central station wirelessly, such as, by using BLUETOOTH, 802.11b protocol or other protocols. In this way, smart sensors can be reprogrammed for different applications and/or functions very rapidly in the field.
Further, an internal modular serial communication bus is used to connect the intelligence layer 330 to the communications layer 340. A high speed programmable gain amplifier, such as the PGA202 made by BURR BROWN, may additionally be included.
In the particular embodiment of the present inventions, two different types of RF communication (active and passive) are shown. This is not meant to be limiting, as the inventions can be made with any one or more of the disclosed communication systems, or with another system, such as infrared (IR), if desired. Communication layer 340 of
A power layer 350 is provided. In the present embodiment, a battery 352 is provided as the primary power source. The battery 350 may be a 5-9V lithium or alkaline battery. A battery monitoring circuit 353 provides an alert when the charge level of battery 350 is low. Additionally the battery monitoring circuit 353 monitors the capacity of battery 350 of battery 350 remaining in the power supply. An LDO voltage regulator 354 is additionally provided. The LDO voltage regulator 354 may be a DSP dual supply. If desired, other voltage supplies 355 (such as parasitic voltage supplies or others described above) may be provided in the power module 350. In one embodiment, layers 320, 330, 340, and 350 are stacked one on top of the other to provide an integrated form of sensor device 300.
The smart sensor modules of the present inventions can be used for a number of applications. For example, smart sensor modules as described herein may be particularly useful as pump diagnosticians, health monitors, smart heating/cooling systems, water-pump optimizers, smart tags and in smart automotive applications. The following examples will be used to demonstrate the versatility of and possible applications for the general smart sensor modules described herein.
A smart sensor employed in a pump environment may be set up to detect various characteristics of the pump system. For example, the passive layer (120 of
A smart sensor employed as a health monitor may include a passive layer having physical sensors that detect pulse (audio, PPG or ECG sensors), breath (audio sensor), respiration (piezoelectric), temperature, blood oxygen (PPG), omega waves (long wavelength electrical signals that indicate stress), EEG signals and/or sweat index (moisture sensor). The smart sensor module can process data from the health monitor sensors to detect and record anomalies, calculate daily statistics for the patient, calculate total calories, etc. Such a smart sensor module could be a standalone module, or could be incorporated into a smart bandage or smart belt scanner worn by the patient, a hand held health monitor scanner, a smart sensor glove or sock or a smart mattress in contact with the patient.
For example, rather than serving as a wound dressing, a smart bandage may include one or more sensors or measuring devices to detect the presence of biological fluids, biological agents, genetic material, radiation, color “tags” for a given material or analyte, medication, oxygen, blood gases, red or white blood cells, temperature, pulse, sound, light or indicia of infection. In addition, the detector may comprise an imaging device capable of imaging at least a portion of the surface below the smart bandage. The sensors may be present in the smart bandage in any practical combination thereof. Additionally the smart bandage may further include a component for applying or releasing substances that aid in fighting infection, reducing scarring or accelerating healing.
The hand-held medical scanner and belt scanner can additionally include ultrasound techniques and other sensors as described in connection with the smart bandage. The smart sensor module may send information to a computer for display of the wound or ultrasound image on a monitor or television. Additionally, the smart sensor module could send the information to a personal goggle device, where the information may be displayed in image or textual form at eye level to the user.
Referring now to
Smart Heating/Cooling System
A smart sensor module employed in a smart heating or cooling system could include a passive layer to detect temperature in/out, humidity, voltage/current draw. The smart sensor module can use this information to automatically adjust the system to maximize comfort through rules learned over time based on behavior or predetermined characteristics. Additionally, the smart sensor module can automatically adjust the system to minimize energy usage and can suggest maintenance schedules.
A smart sensor module employed in a waterpump optimization system could include a passive layer for measuring pressure suction/discharge, flow and temperature. Using the sensed information along with the weather forecast data, the smart sensor may automatically minimize energy usage for different rate structures, alternate pumps to maximize pump lifetime and/or suggest maintenance schedules.
A smart sensor module employed as a smart tag could include a passive layer for measuring vibration, temperature and/or humidity. Using the information, the smart sensor may automatically detect and record when unsafe operating conditions occur. The smart sensor module may additionally alert a remote station under certain operating conditions.
A smart sensor module employed in automotive applications could include a passive layer for measuring pressure, biological signs of the driver, and/or image data from a rearview mirror. Using the information, the smart sensor may automatically position the mirrors, monitor fatigue of the driver and possibly provide a wake up alarm, recognize the driver, and/or adjust the seat and/or airbag parameters. Additionally a smart oil sensor module could be provided for automobiles or small construction equipment. The sensor would be in the changeable oil filter and could monitor oil characteristics that provide indications of engine wear. The module could alert the vehicle operator of the need for an oil change. This could be based on detection of threshold level of metal content in the oil and/or oil viscosity that indicates the oil is degrading.
A smart sensor module could be used as a pathogen detector in poultry. The module could measure and process key environmental factors such as temperature, moisture, water quality (chemicals).
Smart sensor modules incorporated into smart packages can measure the content and character of a package. It can determine when the package is opened and how much content has been removed. It can determine if the character of the content is changed or degraded. It can track the location and storage conditions of the package. Such package parameters can be communicated wirelessly on a routine and/or alert basis. Applications for this smart package would include storage and use of agrochemical products, fuels and volatile products, and the storage of hazardous materials, such as waste, weapons, missiles, etc.
A smart sensor module could be provided that is worn around the neck, wrist or on a chest band for continuous monitoring of a patient. Sensors included could monitor heart rate, heart rhythm, respiration and/or blood pressure. Data could be collected and periodically downloaded to a physician's office and/or home computer. If measurements become abnormal, as determined by the smart sensor module, the wearer would be alerted and a doctor notified. The doctor would additionally be provided with an immediate download of information. If it became an emergency, the device could be programmed to dial 911 and an embedded GPS receiver would identify the location of the individual. This type of smart sensor module application would be useful for people who have heart conditions, respiratory problems, diabetes or other aliments that require continued monitoring but not hospitalization.
Smart Sprinkler System
A smart sensor module can be employed in agricultural applications and for home lawns and gardens. The sensor module could sense moisture and crop or plant health. Upon local processing of the detected information, the smart sensor module would automatically apply water, and if needed, add fertilizer and pesticides/fungicides to the application, as needed. Valves controlled by the smart sensor can be used to add liquid fertilizer to a water stream provided by sprinklers.
Determination of Genetic Traits in the Field
Referring now to
Note that all of the above smart sensor module applications can be made using the general smart sensor module described in connection with
Many further embodiments of the present inventions are envisioned. For example in other embodiments, the layers, sensor types, module types, and the like can be combined or interchanged. In another example, a layer including one or more actuators is provided that is responsive to information processed from one or more sensors. In still another example, a sensor module comprises: a wireless communication device; at least two sensors each operable to sense a different characteristic and provide corresponding sensor signals; a processor operable to provide information determined from the sensor signals in accordance with an adaptive learning routine; and a power source operatively coupled to and carried with the wireless communication device, the sensors, and the processor. For one form of this embodiment, the adaptive learning routine includes an algorithm based on at least one of the group consisting of: a self-organization feature map, adaptive resonance theory, a feed forward neural network, a recurrent neural network, and Hopfield and bi-directional associative memory learning. Alternatively or additionally, the power source, the wireless communication device, and the processor each correspond to one of three different layers coupled together to provide an integrated sensing subassembly; and/or may include one or more interchangeable passive layers.
In yet another example, an apparatus comprises: a sensor module with at least two sensors each operable to sense a different characteristic and provide corresponding sensor signals; a processor operable to provide sensor module location information determined from the sensor signals in accordance with an adaptive learning routine; and a wireless communication device operable to transmit the location information. For one form of this embodiment, the adaptive learning routine includes an algorithm based on at least one of the group consisting of: a self-organization feature map, adaptive resonance theory, a feed forward neural network, a recurrent neural network, and Hopfield and bi-directional associative memory learning. Alternatively or additionally, the power source, the wireless communication device, and the processor each correspond to one of three different layers coupled together to provide an integrated sensing subassembly; and/or may include one or more interchangeable passive layers.
Still another example comprises: performing a first sensing application with a sensing device, the sensing device including a power source, a processor, a wireless communication device, a first layer to perform sensing with two or more sensors each of a different type, and a memory including first application programming corresponding to one or more features of the first layer; interchanging the first layer of the sensing device with a second layer, the second layer including at least one feature different from the one or more features of the first layer, the memory including second application programming corresponding to the at least one feature of the second layer; and performing a second sensing application with the sensing device after the interchange, the second application being different than the first application.
A further example comprises: providing a plurality of sensing device subassemblies each including a power source, a processor, a wireless communication device, and two or more sensors each of a different type; coupling a first outer layer to one of the subassemblies to provide a sensing device for a first application; coupling a second outer layer to another of the subassemblies to provide a sensing device for a second application different than the first application; and executing a first program with the sensing device for the first application and a second program with the sensing device for the second application, the first program and the second program being at least partially different in accordance with a difference between features of the first outer layer and the second outer layer.
Yet a further example comprises: providing a self-powered, remote sensor module carrying at least two sensors each operable to sense a characteristic of a different type and a wireless communication device; processing signals from the sensors with a neural network provided by the sensor module; and transmitting information from the sensor module with the wireless communication device, the information being at least partially determined from said processing.
Another example includes: providing a self-powered, remote sensor module carrying at least two sensors each operable to detect a characteristic of a different type; carrying the sensor module with a mobile person and/or a mobile object; processing signals from each of the sensors with an adaptive learning routine executed by the sensor module; and providing location information for the mobile person and/or the mobile object at least partially based on such processing.
In a further example, a sensor module is included that comprises: means for providing the sensor module in a number of layers coupled together to provide an integrated sensing unit with at least an outer one of the layers being interchangeable; means for sensing at least two different characteristics and providing corresponding sensor signals that is coupled to an outer one of the layers; means for processing the sensor signals with an adaptive learning routine; and means for wirelessly communicating information from the processing means to a receiving device.
While the inventions have been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, it being understood that only the preferred embodiments have been shown and described and that all equivalents, changes, and modifications that come within the spirit of the inventions described herein and by the following claims are desired to be protected.
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|U.S. Classification||702/183, 702/190, 702/188, 702/182|
|International Classification||G01D21/02, G01D9/00|
|Cooperative Classification||G01D21/02, G01D9/005|
|European Classification||G01D9/00S, G01D21/02|
|Sep 23, 2002||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BATTELLE MEMORIAL INSTITUTE, OHIO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:LIND, MICHAEL A.;PRIDDY, KEVIN L.;MORGAN, GARY B.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:013312/0803;SIGNING DATES FROM 20020829 TO 20020910
|Sep 18, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Oct 4, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8